According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 633 people died in drowsy-driving crashes in 2020. The NHTSA attributes diminished work-life balance because of a more technologically advanced and connected world to low sleep quality, which is a factor in many fatigued driving incidents. Although the NHTSA acknowledges that fatigued driving is a problem, determining a precise number of crashes and injuries from fatigued driving is difficult, and crash investigators cannot always directly identify an accident caused by a drowsy driver. Fatigued driving crashes are often single-driver crashes that occur when people experience dips in their circadian rhythm late at night and in the late afternoon. But NHTSA acknowledges that sleepiness can cause crashes at any time and in myriad ways, including in ways that injure other drivers, as evidenced by one recent accident.
According to a recent article, three people were injured in a crash in Fairfield, Maine. Both drivers in the two-car crash and a passenger were taken to the hospital but have since been released. A 36-year-old man drove across the center line at around 9 p.m., hitting a 68-year-old man driving a truck and his passenger. Police are still investigating the crash but say driver fatigue is a possible factor.
Alert Driving Tips
Everyone has a duty to drive safely on the roads we share. While it can be easy to be angry at fatigued drivers, there’s a good chance everyone has been in a situation where they should not have been behind the wheel at the end of a long day. Look out for your fellow drivers and stay alert with these tips from the NHTSA.
All people, especially drivers, should be getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night to ensure a regular circadian rhythm and sufficient sleep. In addition, alcohol, even at levels below the legal limit, can exacerbate sleepiness and should be avoided before getting behind the wheel. Even legal substances such as prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause drowsiness, so diligently check labels and understand the way your medicines impact you before driving. NHTSA urges individuals who have to commute during peak drowsiness hours to use public transportation, if possible, or stay vigilant. And while NHTSA cautions against the use of short-term fixes, the administration notes that two cups of coffee and pulling over to a safe place for a twenty-minute nap has been shown to increase alertness. However, caffeine is no fix for sleep deprivation and can cause individuals to overestimate their alertness or even lose consciousness for four to five seconds, which is enough time to cause a crash.
Contact a Maine Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Not every driver follows safe protocols before getting behind the wheel. If you’re in an accident with a drowsy driver, you need a Maine personal injury attorney. The team at Peter Thompson & Associates can help you navigate every step of your claim to help get you compensated for your injuries. For a free, no-obligation consultation with a Maine personal injury attorney, call us today at 1-800-804-2004.